13dici a tavola
35mm - colour
festivals & awards:
Call me Giulio. I’m fifty something. You don’t see me much in the film, just at the start and the end. But you’ll feel my presence a lot, because my voice will be guiding you through the whole story.
I was born on September 9, 1946. We’re in the country, in the hills around Pisa. I was born prematurely and was somewhat unattractive. My parents already had two sons and they really wanted a daughter. They should have called me Ester, after my grandmother. But in the end they called me Giulio, like my grandfather. When I was born, the family fortune had already been squandered. The family wasn’t rich anymore, but it could still enjoy the benefits of a large villa in Tuscany!
In the summer, all the family gathered here, in the beautiful and stately Villa Corbi. My family and also my aunt’s. And the two grandparents. At mealtimes there were 12 of us around the table. I had two older brothers, Furio and Roberto, who were already at university. Then there were the two cousins, Arianna and Silvia, both very pretty… but they were still too young to have started having sex. They had a brother, my cousin Pietro, who was the oldest of our group. After our grandfather, Pietro was the second black sheep of the family. And he was the one who put my love story at risk, right from the very start……
When Anna arrived, all of the men went crazy. And when I say all the men, I mean all of them, young and old, including grandfather. Because Anna was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Though, as my grandfather said at the time, he was too old for Anna….and I was too young. However, even if I started off as the rank outsider because of my age, and also, to be perfectly honest, because I was awkward and still a virgin… in the end, lady luck smiled on the loser. Namely me. And so I became a man.
But I do have to point out that even though my relationship with Anna is at the heart of the story, there are also lots of other parallel stories. There’s my mother’s tale; the story of my aunt Matilde, her sister; there’s my father, Antonio, who was struck down by a tragicomic attack of dementia that summer; and finally there’s grandfather Giulio, a funny man, who, in his own way, was also profound.
Many years later, when I’m by now in my fifties, I go back to Villa Corbi to sell the property. Against the advice of my brothers and cousins, who are just as old as I am, I decide not to give up my part of the house. And in fact I sell the few things I have, I go into debt and I buy that magnificent villa for me and my family…..